What exactly is Exercise Science? It’s a broad title for a variety of sports related healthcare fields, including Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology and Athletic Training. Finding online, undergraduate programs to meet your specific educational goals can be tricky, since there is not a uniformed name used by colleges and universities for this educational area. For example, there are Bachelor of Science degrees in Physiology, Exercise Science, Health and Wellness or Health Science. Concentrations in exercise science frequently require “hands on” studies, working with people, which makes finding online studies in this specific field, a bit more difficult. Best Medical Degrees has researched some of the online degree programs available which may help you in your school search. This ranking concentrates on two of the most prominent fields of study in:
Sometimes referred to as Exercise Science, this field of study concentrates on improving overall health through the knowledge and application of physiological mechanics. In other words, exercise physiologists employ exercise techniques to improve physical performance, disease prevention and rehabilitation and athletic guidance and training.
In a nutshell, kinesiology is the study of human and animal movement, function and performance which is holistic in its approach. Kinesiology incorporates various exercise modules to improve fitness in clinical populations as well as athletes.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 13% job growth (between 2016-26) which is faster than the national average for Exercise Physiologists. The Bureau does not have a specific category for Kinesiologists, but includes it in the general Exercise Physiologist ranking. PayScale estimates an average salary ranges between $31,453-$71,500 for Kinesiologists at $30,162-$69,077 annually.
Best Medical Degrees created this ranking of online undergraduate degrees in Exercise Science by reviewing: 1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of potential job growth for careers in Exercise Science, 2) PayScale, an online salary report based on national employer surveys. Salary ranges may fluctuate based on geographic location and employer, 3) we utilized the U.S. News and World Report rankings of universities and colleges and Forbes Magazine Best Value Colleges to determine national rankings and ratings, 4) we only report on schools holding accreditation by Department of Education approved accrediting agencies and 5) estimate tuition cost ranges for schools is based on data from the 2016-2017 National Center for Educational Statistics data and school websites to establish a range of tuition cost. Tuition estimates do not include any additional fees accessed by the school or university.
Frequently, depending on financial need, students may qualify for financial assistance through Federal Student Aid for undergraduate study. You may also wish to discuss your financial options with the school you choose to determine if there is any other assistance for which you may qualify.
Estimated 2017-18 Tuition Range: $5,000-$14,000
This is a blended online Bachelor of Science Health Sciences (Healthy Lifestyles Coaching) which focuses on healthy lifestyle coaching; and, combines studies in health sciences, exercise, nutrition and wellness. The program falls under ASU’s College of Health Solutions, School of Nutrition & Health Promotion and provides an interdisciplinary approach to health sciences. Courses include foundations of health and wellness, human nutrition, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, statistics for life sciences, health communication, evidence based practices, health coaching skills and concepts, etc. Students are required to take general education courses in the humanities, mathematics, sciences and electives. The program requires 120 credit hours for graduation, with 45 upper division coursework and requires 30 hours on campus attendance. Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
ASU has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report for #1 Innovation, Best Bang for the Buck by the Princeton Review and College Factual ranks the school in its top 20 for its Best Colleges for Veterans. Founded in 1885 in Phoenix, Arizona and has grown to five campuses in the Greater Phoenix area with an estimated enrollment of over 72,000 students; and, has offered online degrees since 2006.
2. University of Florida
The University of Florida has an online Bachelor of Science in Health Education & Behavior developed to train students to promote healthy lifestyles in group settings or with individuals and will prepare graduates to clinical, community or industry related programs. Offered through UF’s College of Health and Human Performance, students will study general education courses which will include studies in biology, sociology, human anatomy, physiology, nutrition, community and environmental health, patient education, drug education, women’s health issues and an internship. The degree requires 120 credit hours for completion; and, the University of Florida holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges.
The University of Florida is tied for #12 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report and #42 National Rankings by the publication. Forbes has ranked the school #20 America’s Best Value Colleges. Located in Gainesville, Florida, UF is a public university that was established in 1853 and has an overall enrollment of over 52,000 students.
3. United States Sports Academy
This program is a fully accredited Bachelor of Sports Science (BSS) with several concentrations in: Sports Management, Sports Coaching, Sports Studies and Sports Strength and Conditioning. This ranking examines the Sports Strength and Conditioning concentration. In this track, students will take online coursework in anatomy and physiology, sociology of sports, ethics, psychology, scientific principles of human performance, sports medicine, legal concepts of sports, law and risk management, exercise physiology, etc. An estimated 128 credit hours are required for graduation. The United States Sports Academy holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a Department of Education approved, educational accrediting agency. The institution’s website describes it, “The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service.”
U.S. News and World Report has ranked this institution#107 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The institution is a private, small, with an enrollment of 127 students established in 1972; and, is located in Daphne, Alabama.
4. American Public University
This is a Bachelor of Science in Sports and Health Sciences which will prepare students to enter the health and fitness profession. The program offers concentrations in Exercise Science and Fitness and Wellness Professional Studies. Holding accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), this degree is provided through American Public University’s School of Health Sciences and requires 30 hours of general education credits, 37 hours of program major courses, 18 credit hours of concentration subjects and elective courses of 32 hours for a total of 120 degree hours. Degree major coursework includes sports psychology, exercise physiology, general chemistry, human anatomy, nutrition; as well, as specific concentration topics.
U.S. News and World Report ranks American Public University #94 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and has been named one of Military Times 2018 Best Colleges for Veterans. Founded in 1991 by a retired Marine Corps officer, as American Military University, the American Public University was established in 2002. APU currently boasts an enrollment of over 48,000 students.
5. University of Louisiana-LaFayette
The University of Louisiana-LaFayette offers an online Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology Health Promotion & Wellness which holds program accreditation from The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). Requiring 120 credit hours for completion, students in this BS program will study general education courses and will complete studies in basic human nutrition, wellness, health promotion theory, kinesiology, epidemiology, stress and stress management, occupational health and safety; and, will include an internship. Due to state regulations, this program is not offered in all states. You may want to verify your state qualifies by searching the University of Louisiana-LaFayette site for State Authorization. Graduates of this program will be eligible to sit for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) national exam.
Forbes ranks this university #186 in Public Colleges and #129 in the South and U.S. News and World Report rates the University of Louisiana-LaFayette online programs #94 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and rates the university #231-#300 in National Universities. Founded in 1898 as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute and is now the largest portion of the Louisiana University System with an enrollment of nearly 16,000 students.
6. Ashford University
This is online Bachelor of Arts in Health and Wellness which prepares students to understand the human body with respect to health, disease, nutrition, exercise and stress management. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and provides students the ability to recognize lifestyle practices, development of wellness programs for individuals. The degree requires 120 hours for completion of general education courses, major subject area studies and electives. Coursework for this degree will include studies in anatomy and physiology, stress management, exercise physiology and will include a health and wellness capstone project prior to graduation.
Ashford University was established as a junior college in 1918 by the Sisters of Saint Francis in Clinton, Iowa. The school was acquired by Bridgepoint Education, Inc., located in San Diego, California in 2005 and is a proprietary school with an enrollment over 41,000 students.
7. California University of Pennsylvania
The California University of Pennsylvania lists an online, Bachelor of Science in Wellness and Fitness program which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). The school is also a partner of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and the National Association of Speed & Explosion (NASE). Coursework for this degree includes studies in human anatomy and physiology, sports nutrition, exercise physiology, sports psychology, wellness and fitness for the aging population, functional kinesiology, ethics in sports management, motivational strategies, personal fitness training, etc. The university also offers a Sports Management studies with concentrations in sports management and professional golf management.
Part of the Pennsylvania State System, California University of Pennsylvania is located in California, Pennsylvania which was founded in 1852. Cal U, as it’s known, has over 9,000 enrolled students and its online bachelor degree programs has been ranked #77 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report, as well as ranking #146-#187 in Regional Universities North by the publication.
Estimated 2017-18 Tuition Range: $15,000-$30,000
8. Concordia University-Saint Paul
Accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Concordia University-Saint Paul has an online Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science degree program. Concentrating on kinesiology and human movement, the program offers a foundation for future careers in coaching, health and wellness education, personal training, rehabilitation or fitness and wellness careers. Requiring 120 credit hours for completion, students will study major courses in health psychology, exercise assessment, biomechanics, sports business, nutrition, research methods and motor development. These courses are in addition to general education courses in the humanities, mathematics, social studies, general science, etc.
Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Concordia University was founded in 1893 as a Christian liberal arts college. Ranked #106 in Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News and World Report, the university has also received recognition from the publication as #131 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best Online Programs for Veterans. The school is ranked #268 Best Colleges for Your Money by Money Magazine. The school has a current enrollment of over 3,000 students.
9. Creighton University
Creighton University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Healthy Lifestyle Management to prepare students to focus on the whole person and prepares students to sit for health and wellness coaching certifications. Offered through Creighton’s College for Professional Studies, students will take a major curriculum consisting of coursework in health psychology, healthy eating and whole person health, physical activity and the whole person, lifestyle medicine, cultural epidemiology, interpersonal communication and culminates with a capstone project. This degree is designed to graduate students who may find employment as Life Skill Coaches, Fitness and Wellness Directors, Community Outreach Directors, etc. The program is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Founded in 1878 in Omaha, Nebraska as a Jesuit College, Creighton University has grown to over 8,000 students and has been recognized by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of its Best College Values, Best Colleges by The Military Times and U.S. News and World Report’s #1 for Veterans. U.S. News and World Report has also recognized Creighton University #31 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs, #1 Regional Universities Midwest categories.
10. Excelsior College
Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences (Health and Wellness) degree. Requiring 120 credit hours for completion, this program is tailored for the adult learner and prepares students in areas of nutrition, exercise, natural healing and spiritually and health. Coursework for this program will include general education course in the humanities, general sciences, mathematics, social sciences, arts and sciences, etc.; and, major courses in anatomy, physiology, exercise for health, mind, body, health, nutrition and for wellness, health education, etc. The school also offers a BS to MS online option for students.
Excelsior College is a non-profit, private, distance learning institution which was established in 1971 in Albany, New York, by the New York Board of Regents as Regents College. The school’s name changed in 1998 and the institution cites an enrollment of over 32,000 students.
11. Eastern Oregon University
Eastern Oregon University has an online Bachelor in Physical Activity and Health degree, with a concentration in Exercise Science. Students will take core courses in human anatomy and physiology, measurement and evaluation in physical activity, behavioral change theory; and, degree concentration coursework in applied anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition and sport performance, sport psychology, statistics, lifestyle behavior and health, motor learning and control, among others. Exercise Science majors will be eligible for certification in strength and conditioning and personal training. EOU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
U.S. News and World Report rates EOU’s online bachelor degrees at #94 in Best Online Bachelors Programs and rates the university #96-#126 in Regional Universities West rankings. Located in La Grande, Oregon, the university has an enrollment of approximately 2800 students. Founded in 1929 as a public university and is one of seven, four-year schools funded by the state.
Estimated 2017-18 Average Tuition Cost: $30,000-Above
12. California Baptist University Online
California Baptist University Online provides a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. Accredited by is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), this is a 100% online degree program, which focuses on teaching, athletic training, allied health fields and fitness. Requiring 93 credit hours for completion, this degree can be completed in a rapid 18 months, making it one of the fastest degrees in this category. Requiring completion of general education courses in humanities, communications and fine arts, natural sciences and biblical and theological studies, students will then advance to lower and upper division courses. These courses will include studies in anatomy and physiology, movement anatomy, kinesiology foundations, exercise physiology, nutrition science, fitness assessment, principles of athletic conditioning, etc.
Located in Riverside, California, California Baptist University was established in 1950 by the California Southern Baptist Convention and has enrollment estimated at nearly 10,000 students. The online degree programs are ranked #23 in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.